3,6,7,9: The Benefits and Difference Between the Omega Fatty Acid
There is a large craze in the US on the consumption of Omega Fatty Acids. Everyone knows that all health professionals have been telling you for years now that we have to eat more Omega-3 Fatty Acids. But the issue is that most people only see the term Omega Fatty Acids and don’t understand what they are consuming or why. Many people do not know that there are multiple types of Omega Fatty Acids, but they did not know that they are eating far too much of one type and not enough of another. All Omega Fatty Acids are necessary for the human body to function properly, but as with anything we eat or drink, it is all about having the proper ratio of each substance in our bodies.
The first type of fatty acid I would like to talk about is Omega-3 Fatty Acid. This type if lipid is most often found in walnuts, certain seeds, sage, flaxseed oil, fatty fish (salmon
contain allot of Omega-3), krill oil and squid oils. One of the major ways your body uses Omega 3 is to help maintain a healthy metabolism. Many believe that Omega 3 directly correlates to lowering chances of heart disease or cancer, but the fact remains that it is not the Omega-3 itself that has this effect, but the balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6; but we will go over that further down the line here. The other major benefits of Omega-3 are that it helps fight inflammation in the body, helps with developmental disorders, helps the body balance itself out in mental health issues, and when it comes to old age it can help reduce the chances of cognitive degeneration. This is a very important oil to have in your diet, but remember, as with anything, too much can hurt you. Some believe that bombarding your body with it is the way to go, but that is absolutely wrong. It has been shown that an overabundance of Omega-3 can lead to immune system failure and an increase in infection. But the amount needed for that is extremely high, and will not occur if you eat salmon on a daily basis. Unless you are washing it down with fish oil pills and flaxseed oil smoothies.
Next on the list is Omega-6 fatty Acid, which is most commonly found in seed oils like sunflower oil and corn oil. In the US around the 90s there was a major movement to seed oils in replacement of milk-based butter. Even though seed oils can be healthy there are a few issues with the way it was handled. Allot of people have decided that these oils are so healthy that they use them more often than they would use butter or lard. Omega 6-Fatty Acids can be beneficial to the human body and are very important for sustaining life. A healthy diet of Omega-6 Fatty Acids can help with reducing illnesses like asthma and arthritis. The major issue with Omega-6 Fatty Acids is that we use it so often in our meals, that by default we use far too much of it. The average American is believed to consume an Omeg-6:Omega-3 ratio of 30:1! That is very bad for our health! Nutritionists believe that our bodies evolved on a 1:1 or even a 2:1 ratio, and that the ideal ratio is 4:1. A high Ω6: Ω3 ratio can lead to inflammation, cell damage and an increase in likelihood of breast and prostate cancer. Seeing that consuming 10 times the Omega-3 can be just as harmful, it is recommended that people drastically cut down on the use of oils that contain Omega-6 Fatty Acid.
The two Omega Fatty Acids that we do not encounter as much are Omega-7 Fatty Acids and Omega-9 Fatty Acids. This is mostly due to the fact that there are not as many sources of this lipid that we can consume. Omega-7 can be found in smaller doses in some fatty fish like Salmon, Mackerel and Tuna. But the biggest source of Omega-7 are Macadamia Nuts and a uncommon fruit called Sea Buckthorn. Omega-7 can be used to decrease LDL Cholesterol (what clogs up your arteries), can help control the metabolism, reduces inflammation and can help lower blood sugar. Now why hasn’t my doctor told me about this!? Are you taking Lipitor, Lopid, Actos or Glipizide? Well the active ingredient in those is Omega-7. The only issue is that the way these medications are refined can lead to some nasty side effects. So try to take some Omega-7 supplements! The only major side effect is that if you have too much of it in your body then you start sweating it out and it comes out oily and doesn’t smell very good.
Omega-9 Fatty Acid is a little more common than Omega-7 as it can be found in many types of nuts and is a major part of avocados. This lipid is very good for you! Adding Omega-9 to your diet can help decrease LDL Cholesterol (the bad stuff) and help increase HDL Cholesterol (the good stuff) in your body. This effect is known to decrease the chance of sudden heart disease and to help control blood sugar in the body. Now Omega-9 is not considered to be essential to the human body. It simply helps us out. But if you consume too much of it (do we see a trend here?) then it can lead to drastic weight gain and heart disease.
Eating healthy can be extremely difficult if you do not know how to distinguish what all of these nutrients and minerals are. It is always the art of balance that will keep us healthy in the long run. This is true even for substances that are considered to be vital and healthy. Always balance and always remember that if you do not take time to be healthy, you will make time to be sick (Brian Johnson, I credit you here). Final thought on this subject. Even if it is good for you, too much can still kill you. We all need water, but if you get too much at once it is called drowning.
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